Qubo

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Qubo
Qubo logo.svg
TypeTelevision network
Programming block
CountryUnited States
Broadcast areaNational
NetworkNBC (2006–2012)
Telemundo (2006–2012)
Ion Television (2006–2021)
Ion Plus (2020–2021)
HeadquartersWest Palm Beach, Florida
Programming
Language(s)English
Spanish (via SAP)
Picture format480i 16:9 (SDTV)
Ownership
OwnerE. W. Scripps Company (2021)
Ion Media (2006–21)
ParentIon Media (2006–21)
NBCUniversal (2006–12)
Corus Entertainment (2006–13)
Scholastic Corporation (2006–13)
Classic Media (2006–13)
Sister channelsIon Television
Ion Plus
History
LaunchedSeptember 9, 2006; 15 years ago (2006-09-09) (programming block)
January 8, 2007 (2007-01-08) (network)
ClosedNovember 14, 2021; 7 months ago (2021-11-14)
Availability
Cable
Verizon FiOSChannel 491
IPTV
U-verse TVChannel 328
Samsung TV PlusChannel 1384
Vizio WatchFree+Channel 617

Qubo (/ˈkjb/ KYEW-boh; stylized as qubo) was an American television network for children between the ages of 5 and 14. Owned by the E. W. Scripps Company, it consisted of a 24-hour free-to-air television network often mentioned as the "Qubo channel" (available as a digital terrestrial television service on owned-and-operated stations and some affiliates of corporate sister Ion Television, as well as on some pay-TV providers), associated website with games and programs available through video on demand, and a weekly programming block on Ion Television, along with Ion Life, later known as Ion Plus.

Following Ion Media's acquisition by the E. W. Scripps Company, it gets cancelled on November 14, 2021.[1]

History[change | change source]

Formation[change | change source]

In May 2006, Ion Media Networks, NBCUniversal (which owned a 32% interest in Ion Media at the time),[2] Corus Entertainment, Scholastic Corporation and Classic Media (now part of NBCUniversal's DreamWorks Animation) announced plans to launch a new, multi-platform children's entertainment brand known as Qubo, oriented towards providing "educational, values-oriented programming" targeted towards children between 5 and 14 years of age. The brand would encompass programming blocks on NBCUniversal and Ion's respective flagship broadcast television networks (NBC, Telemundo and Ion Television), a video on demand service, a website, and a standalone 24-hour network to be carried as a digital subchannel on terrestrial television stations owned by Ion Media Networks and by pay-TV providers.[3]

Qubo president Rick Rodríguez (who formerly served as a programming executive at Discovery Communications) stated in a 2008 interview with Multichannel News that Qubo was designed as a bilingual brand, offering programming in both English and Spanish (with the latter's audio available through the SAP audio feed on most programming, along with the "CC3" closed captioning channel for Spanish text). While Qubo would initially carry Spanish-language dubs of its programming for both its Telemundo block and (through the SAP audio feed) the standalone 24-hour network, Rodríguez did not outrule the possibility of developing original children's programming geared to Latino audiences through Qubo in the future. He felt that the market for Spanish-language children's programming had been underserved by existing outlets (such as Telemundo and Univision), and envisioned the possibility of programming which could "bridge the gap" and educate Spanish-speaking children on the English language, and vice versa.[3]

The Qubo brand was intended to represent a "building block for kids," as reflected by its logo. The name "Qubo" was chosen because it had a "fun" sound, and the root word, "cube", was nearly crosslingual in both English and Spanish (cubo).[3]

Launch[change | change source]

Qubo launched on September 9, 2006, with the premiere of weekend morning blocks on NBC (which aired exclusively on Saturday mornings, replacing Discovery Kids on NBC, a weekly block programmed by the Discovery Kids cable network) and Telemundo (which aired on both Saturday and Sunday mornings, replacing Telemundo Kids). This was followed by the September 15 introduction of a daytime block on Ion Television (then known as i: Independent Television), which initially aired on Friday afternoons. At launch, its programming included the first-run animated series Dragon (produced by Scholastic), Jacob Two-Two, Babar, and Jane and the Dragon (produced by Canada-based animation studio Nelvana), alongside VeggieTales and its spin-offs 3-2-1 Penguins! and Larryboy: The Cartoon Adventures (produced by Classic Media subsidiary Big Idea) – marking the first time that VeggieTales had ever been broadcast as a television program.[4][5][6]

All shows listed on the initial schedule made their official debuts on US television. Jacob Two-Two, however, was the only exception as that show previously aired exclusively in Spanish on the predecessor of Telemundo's Qubo block, Telemundo Kids. It first aired on January 8, 2005, and was the only show from that block to continue airing once Qubo en Telemundo launched. The only change was that with both the NBC and Ion blocks, the show was viewable in English for the first time in the US whilst still being viewable in Spanish on Telemundo.

VeggieTales and its spin-offs incorporated lessons related to Christian teachings; initially, this religious content was edited out of the original VeggieTales broadcasts on Qubo at the request of NBC's standards and practices department. The move, however, drew criticism from the conservative watchdog group Parents Television Council, which filed a complaint against NBC. A representative for NBC replied in a statement that the editing conformed to guidelines within the network's broadcast standards "not to advocate any one religious point of view". VeggieTales creator Phil Vischer also expressed discontent with the edits, stating that he was not informed that religious content would be removed from the series, and that he would have refused to sign a contract with Qubo if he had known of the decision beforehand. Vischer said, "I would have declined partly because I knew a lot of fans would feel like it was a sellout or it was done for money." Still, Vischer added that he understood NBC's wish to remain religiously neutral, and said, "VeggieTales is religious, NBC is not. I want to focus people more on 'Isn't it cool that Bob and Larry are on television?'"

In December 2006, a Spanish-language version of the Qubo website was launched.[7] The 24-hour Qubo network launched on Ion Media Networks' terrestrial stations on January 8, 2007 at 6:00 a.m., with Theodore Tugboat being the first program to air on the network at launch. The feed replaced a 3 hour timeshift of the main Ion network for the West Coast of the United States. The network initially included a schedule of children's programming in rolling four-hour blocks; Ion intended to attempt carriage of the channel on pay-TV providers.[7] In May of that year, NBCUniversal sold its minority stake in Ion Media Networks to Citadel LLC.[2] On December 3, 2007, Qubo expanded its programming offerings to include shows from other producers, as well as some programs that were already airing on Ion Television's Qubo block. In addition, the rolling schedule was expanded to a six-hour block, which repeated four times per day.[8]

In January 2008, Ion Media Networks and Comcast reached an agreement to continue carrying Ion's digital terrestrial channels, including Qubo and Ion Life.[9][10] In August 2008, Qubo introduced guidelines for advertisers in an effort to help fight childhood obesity, committing to only accept advertisements for products which meet nutritional guidelines determined by the network in partnership with childhood obesity expert Goutham Rao. Qubo also began to air a series of public service announcements featuring characters from its programs in association with the Ad Council, the United States Olympic Committee and the Department of Health and Human Services, advocating exercise and healthy living.[11]

In May 2009, Ion Media Networks filed an inquiry with the Federal Communications Commission to attempt must-carry subscription television carriage to expand Qubo's distribution to other providers.[12] Later in May 2010, Ion signed carriage agreements with Advanced Cable Communications and Blue Ridge Communications, as well as deal with Comcast's Colorado Springs system to add Qubo on the providers' digital tiers.[13]

Ion acquisition of partner stakes[change | change source]

With NBCUniversal dropping out of the joint venture following its acquisition by Comcast, it was announced on March 28, 2012, that NBC and Telemundo would discontinue their Qubo blocks and replace them with NBC Kids and MiTelemundo. Both blocks would be programmed by PBS Kids Sprout, a preschool-oriented television network that came under NBCUniversal ownership as part of the merger – on July 7;[14][15][16] leaving Ion Television as the only remaining network with a Qubo-branded programming block (with Ion Media acquiring NBCUniversal's interest in the venture). At the time, PBS Kids Sprout was a competing joint venture between Comcast, HIT Entertainment, PBS and Sesame Workshop; NBCUniversal acquired full ownership of the cable network in November 2013, and PBS Kids Sprout immediately became simply Sprout as a result. Sprout eventually became Universal Kids in 2017.[17][18]

Ion Media Networks acquired the stakes in Qubo held by Classic Media (which became DreamWorks Classics in 2012), after its acquisition by DreamWorks Animation, Scholastic Corporation and Corus Entertainment in 2013, with all three companies retaining program distribution partnerships with the network. The Qubo block on Ion Television was rebranded as the "Qubo Kids Corner" on January 4, 2015, concurrent with the block's move from Friday to Sunday mornings.[19] On September 8, 2020, the block also began airing on Ion Plus during Monday mornings due to E/I commitments, since they had eight stations in the network that had DT1 main-channel carriage rather than subchannel carriage.

Scripps purchase, network closure[change | change source]

On September 24, 2020, the E. W. Scripps Company announced an agreement to buy Ion Media for $2.65 billion.[20] The transaction, which closed on January 7, 2021,[21] saw Ion Television, Ion Plus, Qubo and infomercial service Shop Ion integrated into Scripps' Katz Broadcasting subsidiary (operator of fellow multicast networks Court TV, Court TV Mystery, Bounce TV, Laff and Grit).[22]

On January 14, 2021, Scripps announced that it would discontinue Ion Plus, Qubo, and Shop Ion effective November 14. The spectrum allocated to the networks on the former Ion Media stations was repurposed to carry the Katz-owned networks starting March 1, with the initial slate of Ion Television O&Os adding those networks following the expiration of Scripps/Katz's existing contracts with other broadcasting companies the day prior, and other stations following suit as contracts with existing affiliates expire throughout 2021 and 2022; in markets where major network affiliates operated by Scripps already carry a Katz-owned network, some will be offloaded to the Ion stations to free up limited spectrum capacity during the ATSC 3.0 transition.[1]

The network's oncoming sign-off went unacknowledged on-air outside occasional ticker announcements. Some affiliates abruptly switched the night of November 14 to other Katz networks at which point the network getting cancelled.

Programming[change | change source]

Qubo featured archived content from the programming libraries of NBCUniversal, Corus Entertainment, Scholastic Corporation, DreamWorks Animation, DreamWorks Classics, Trilogy Animation Group, WildBrain, Nelvana, 9 Story Media Group and Splash Entertainment, with its programs targeted all ages 5 to 14. Though there was a first agreement of the two companies - NBCUniversal, and Ion Media - to produce a new series for the network and program block each year, Qubo only produced three original series: My Friend Rabbit (2007–08), Turbo Dogs (2008-11), Pearlie (2009-11), Willa's Wild Life (2009), and Shelldon (2009–12). Qubo regularly broadcast series aimed at preschoolers during the morning and afternoon hours, while series aimed at older children were featured as part of the network's evening schedule.

Programming on Qubo and its companion blocks on Ion Television and Ion Plus accounted for all educational programming content on Ion Television's owned-and-operated stations and certain Ion affiliates that carry the 24-hour channel, relieving the network from the responsibility of carrying programs compliant with guidelines dictated by the Children's Television Act on its other subchannel services. This allowed Ion to carry Ion Shop, HSN and QVC without overlaying any E/I programming on those subchannels.

On September 27, 2010, Qubo launched "Qubo Night Owl", (running from 12:00 to 6:00 a.m. ET) featuring classic animated series, many of which came from the Filmation library owned by DreamWorks Animation (currently owned by NBCUniversal).[23] The block was restructured in August 2013 to feature a mixture of animated and live-action series sourced only from Qubo's distribution partners. It was discontinued as Ion Media decided to reduce the amount of religious and paid programming on Ion Television and Ion Plus by shifting those hours to Qubo's overnight schedule between 1:00 to 6:00 a.m. Eastern.

Affiliates[change | change source]

Current affiliates[change | change source]

Notes:

  1. This list includes Ion Media Networks-owned stations (most of which incorporates the letters "PX" in their call signs, in reference to the pre-2007 name of its corporate parent, Paxson Communications), which are also listed separately from its affiliated stations in the article List of stations owned and operated by Ion Media Networks.
  2. This list does not include parent network Ion Television and sister network Ion Plus, which were carried on most of the stations listed. For a list of affiliates of those networks, see List of Ion Television affiliates and List of Ion Plus affiliates.
City of license/Market Station[24] Virtual
channel
Physical
channel
Year of
affiliation
Ownership Notes

Alabama[change | change source]

Hoover
(Birmingham)
WPXH-TV 44.2 33 2006 Ion Media Networks

Arizona[change | change source]

Tolleson
(Phoenix)
KPPX-TV 51.2 51 2006 Ion Media Networks

California[change | change source]

SacramentoStockton
Modesto
KSPX-TV 29.2 48 2006 Ion Media Networks
San Bernardino
(Los Angeles)
KPXN-TV 30.2 24 2006
San JoseSan FranciscoOakland KKPX-TV 65.2 41 2006

Colorado[change | change source]

Denver KPXC-TV 59.2 18 2006 Ion Media Networks
Gunnison K04DH-D 24.4 4 2011 Southwest Colorado TV Translator Association

Connecticut[change | change source]

New London
(HartfordNew Haven)
WHPX-TV 26.2 28 2006 Ion Media Networks

Delaware[change | change source]

Wilmington
(Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
WPPX-TV 61.2 31 2006 Ion Media Networks

Florida[change | change source]

Bradenton
(TampaSt. Petersburg)
WXPX-TV 66.2 29 2006 Ion Media Networks
Lake Worth
(West Palm BeachBoca RatonFort Pierce)
WPXP-TV 67.2 36 2006
Melbourne
(Orlando)
WOPX-TV 56.2 48 2006
Miami WPXM-TV 35.2 21 2006

Georgia[change | change source]

Brunswick
(Jacksonville, Florida)
WPXC-TV 21.2 24 2006 Ion Media Networks
RomeAtlanta WPXA-TV 14.2 16 2006

Hawaii[change | change source]

Kaneohe
(Honolulu)
KPXO-TV 66.2 41 2006 Ion Media Networks

Idaho[change | change source]

Boise KTRV-TV 12.2 13 2016 Ion Media Networks

Illinois[change | change source]

Chicago WCPX-TV 38.2 43 2006 Ion Media Networks
East St. Louis
(St. Louis, Missouri)
WRBU[25][26] 46.2 47 2014

Indiana[change | change source]

Bloomington
(Indianapolis)
WIPX-TV 63.2 27 2006 Ion Media Networks

Iowa[change | change source]

Cedar Rapids KPXR-TV 48.2 22 2006 Ion Media Networks
NewtonDes Moines KFPX-TV 39.2 36 2006 Ion Media Networks

Kentucky[change | change source]

Richmond
(Lexington)
WUPX-TV 67.2 25 2006 Ion Media Networks

Louisiana[change | change source]

New Orleans WPXL-TV 49.2 50 2006 Ion Media Networks

Maine[change | change source]

Lewiston/Portland WIPL 35.2 24 2018 Ion Media Networks

Massachusetts[change | change source]

Boston WBPX-TV 68.2 32 2006 Ion Media Networks
W40BO 40.2 40 2006 Operates as a repeater of WBPX-TV
DennisCape Cod WMPX-LP 33.2 33 2006
Vineyard Haven WDPX-TV 58.3 40 2006 Operates as a satellite station of WBPX-TV

Michigan[change | change source]

Ann Arbor
(Detroit)
WPXD-TV 31.2 50 2006 Ion Media Networks
Battle Creek
(Grand Rapids and Lansing)
WZPX-TV 44.2 44 2006

Minnesota[change | change source]

St. Cloud
(MinneapolisSt. Paul)
KPXM-TV 41.2 40 2006 Ion Media Networks

Missouri[change | change source]

Kansas City KPXE-TV 50.2 30 2006 Ion Media Networks

Nevada[change | change source]

Pahrump KPVM-LP 41.2 46 2006 Pahrump Video Media
Las Vegas KMCC-TV 34.2 32 2020 Ion Media Networks

New Hampshire[change | change source]

Concord WPXG-TV 21.2 33 2006 Ion Media Networks

New York[change | change source]

Amityville WPXU-LD 12.2 12 2006 Word of God Fellowship WPXN-TV repeater for Long Island
Amsterdam
(Albany)
WYPX-TV 55.2 19 2006 Ion Media Networks
Batavia
(Buffalo and Rochester)
WPXJ-TV 51.2 24 2006
New York City WPXN-TV 31.2 31 2006
Syracuse WSPX-TV 56.2 36 2006

North Carolina[change | change source]

Burlington (Greensboro
Winston-SalemHigh Point)
WGPX-TV 16.2 26 2006 Ion Media Networks
Fayetteville WFPX-TV 62.2 36 2006
Greenville WEPX-TV 38.2 51 2006 WEPX/WPXU maintained a secondary affiliation with MyNetworkTV from that network's launch in September 2006 until September 2009, following the closure of Flinn Broadcasting Corporation's sale of the station to Ion Media Networks; WEPX-TV operates as a satellite station of WEPX-TV
Jacksonville WPXU-TV 35.2 34 2006
Rocky Mount
(RaleighDurham)
WRPX-TV 47.2 32 2006

Ohio[change | change source]

AkronCleveland WVPX-TV 23.2 23 2006 Ion Media Networks

Oklahoma[change | change source]

Oklahoma City KOPX-TV 62.2 18 2006 Ion Media Networks
Okmulgee
(Tulsa)
KTPX-TV 44.2 28

Oregon[change | change source]

Cottage Grove K14LP-D 14.2 14 2006 South Lane Television KPXG-TV repeaters for the southern Willamette Valley and Portland proper
Portland KPXG-LD 42.2 42 2006 Word of God Fellowship
Salem
(Portland)
KPXG-TV 22.2 22 2006 Ion Media Networks

Pennsylvania[change | change source]

Pittsburgh WINP-TV 16.2 38 2011 Ion Media Networks
ScrantonWilkes-Barre WQPX-TV 64.2 33 2006

Puerto Rico[change | change source]

San Juan WIPR-TV 6.3 43 2014 Puerto Rico Public Broadcasting Corporation
Mayaguez WIPM-TV 3.3 35

Rhode Island[change | change source]

Block Island
(Providence)
WPXQ-TV 69.2 17 2006 Ion Media Networks

South Carolina[change | change source]

Columbia WZRB 47.2 25 2013 Ion Media Networks

Tennessee[change | change source]

Cookeville
(Nashville)
WNPX-TV 28.2 36 2006 Ion Media Networks
Jellico
(Knoxville)
WPXK-TV 54.2 18 2006
Memphis WPXX-TV 50.2 33 2006

Texas[change | change source]

ArlingtonDallas KPXD-TV 68.2 25 2006 Ion Media Networks
ConroeHouston KPXB-TV 49.2 24 2006
Uvalde
(San Antonio)
KPXL-TV 26.2 26 2006
Mcallen-Harlingen-Brownsville KNWS-LP 64.2 64 2016 Entravision Communications

Utah[change | change source]

ProvoSalt Lake City KUPX-TV 16.2 29 2006 Ion Media Networks

Virginia[change | change source]

Manassas
(Washington, D.C.)
WPXW-TV 66.2 43 2006 Ion Media Networks
Norfolk WPXV-TV 49.2 46 2006
Roanoke WPXR-TV 38.2 27 2006

Washington[change | change source]

BellevueSeattle KWPX-TV 33.2 33 2006 Ion Media Networks
Spokane KGPX-TV 34.2 34 2006

West Virginia[change | change source]

Charleston WLPX-TV 29.2 39 2006 Ion Media Networks
Martinsburg WWPX-TV 60.2 12 2006 Operates as satellite of WPXW-TV, Manassas, Virginia

Wisconsin[change | change source]

Antigo
(Wausau)
WTPX-TV 46.2 19 2006 Ion Media Networks
Kenosha
(Milwaukee)
WPXE-TV 55.2 40 2006

As of November 2015, Qubo had current and pending affiliation agreements with 67 television stations encompassing 34 states and the District of Columbia.[24] The network has an estimated national reach of 58.83% of all households in the United States (or 183,832,858 American families with at least one television set). Like parent network Ion Television, the network's stations almost exclusively consisted of network-owned stations (with the exception of Louisville, Kentucky affiliate WBNA). Qubo's programming was available by default via a national feed that was delivered directly to cable and satellite providers in markets without a local Ion Television station that carries the network.

Qubo did not have any over-the-air stations in several major markets, most notably Toledo, Ohio; San Diego, California; Charlotte, North Carolina; Richmond, Virginia; Green Bay, Wisconsin; and Cincinnati, Ohio. A key factor in the network's limited national broadcast coverage is the fact that Ion Media Networks does not actively attempt over-the-air distribution for the network on the digital subchannels of other network-affiliated stations (in contrast, its parent network Ion Television – which had similarly limited national coverage following the digital television transition – has begun subchannel-only affiliation arrangements through agreements with NBC Owned Television Stations' Telemundo Station Group subsidiary and Nexstar Media Group during 2014 and 2015[27]), with very few stations that contractually carry the network's programming (with limited exceptions in markets such as Louisville, Kentucky and Anchorage, Alaska). As a result, Ion Media Networks owned most of Qubo's station base.

References[change | change source]

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  8. "qubo Launches as 24-Hour Digital Broadcast Channel on ION Media Networks Station Group". Ion Media Networks. BusinessWire. January 8, 2007.
  9. "ION Media Networks and Comcast Announce Affiliation Agreement for Channel Suite". Yahoo! News. January 14, 2008 – via Ion Media Networks.
  10. Mike Reynolds (January 14, 2008). "ION Media Plugs In New Comcast Accord". Multichannel News. Reed Business Information.
  11. Larry Barrett. "Qubo Sets Health Guidelines For Advertisers". Multichannel News. Reed Business Information. Retrieved September 23, 2014.
  12. John Eggerton (May 19, 2009). "Ion Uses FCC Inquiry on Content Control to Push for Qubo Carriage". Multichannel News. Reed Business Information.
  13. "ION Media Networks Inks Multi-Affiliate Deals for Diginets". Telecommunications Weekly. May 26, 2010. Archived from the original on June 11, 2014. Retrieved February 22, 2014 – via HighBeam Research.
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  16. Nellie Andreeva (March 28, 2012). "NBC Launches Preschool Saturday Block Programmed By Sprout". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved March 29, 2012.
  17. Kimberly Nordyke (November 13, 2013). "NBCUniversal Acquires Ownership of Kids' Channel Sprout". The Hollywood Reporter. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved April 13, 2014.
  18. Keach Hagey (November 13, 2013). "NBCUniversal Buys Remainder of Sprout Network". The Wall Street Journal. News Corp. Retrieved November 14, 2013.
  19. "ION Television launches Sunday morning Qubo kids block".
  20. "Scripps creates national television networks business with acquisition of ION Media" (Press release). E. W. Scripps Company. September 24, 2020.
  21. Jon Lafayette (January 7, 2021). "E.W. Scripps Completes Acquisition of Ion Media". Broadcasting & Cable. Future plc.
  22. "No Retrans, No Problem for Scripps’ Ion Deal," from Broadcasting & Cable, September 25, 2020)
  23. "QUBO CHANNEL KICKS OFF FALL 2010 LINEUP STARTING MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 27". Ion Media Networks (Press release). Retrieved September 23, 2014.
  24. 24.0 24.1 "Stations for Network - Ion". RabbitEars. Retrieved November 21, 2015.
  25. Angela Mueller (December 11, 2013). "Judge approves creditors' proposal in Roberts Broadcasting bankruptcy". St. Louis Business Journal. American City Business Journals. Retrieved December 11, 2013.
  26. Lisa Brown (December 11, 2013). "Roberts' TV stations to be sold". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Lee Enterprises. Retrieved December 11, 2013.
  27. Gary Dinges (November 14, 2015). "New broadcast TV network hits Austin's airwaves". Austin American-Statesman. Cox Enterprises. Retrieved November 18, 2015.